Gwendolyn Rutten strengthens Boer & Croon as new COO: 'Now and here everything comes together'

She is inspired by organizations where successes are granted and mistakes are allowed, and she learned the most by listening to her employees. She endured a double crisis and she is blood fanatic when it comes to MMA. A little impression of Gwendolyn Rutten, who has been active in the board and management of various organizations for nearly thirty years, including Apple, Heineken, Police Academy, ROC Doetinchem and Cap Gemini. As of January 1, she joins Boer & Croon as COO. We asked about her motivations and why she chose Boer & Croon.

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why Boer & Croon

You have an impressive resume. Why do you want to complement it with Boer & Croon?
'Obviously the name and fame of Boer & Croon already has enough conviction in it. But for me it's also a kind of 'back in the old metier' of business services, consultancy and client questions. Now and here everything I have gained in experience and knowledge comes together. At the helm I can add my value in full.'

'Now and here everything I have gained in experience and knowledge is coming together.'

GET it done

Boer & Croon is known for its "get it done" mentality. Rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business. How will your role contribute to that?
Their professionals have a great drive for content and a result-oriented mentality. That requires a good bed in an organization that supports that as much as possible. I want to monitor that. For themselves, but also so that Boer & Croon can be even more distinctive and gain a stronger position. Because the market is ready for it and I want to play a role in it. That is what I am rolling up my sleeves for.'

'The market is ready for it. And I would like to play a role in that.'


You worked at a high level in a variety of organizations. What was your biggest challenge and how did it turn out?
'My biggest challenges were in assignments involving a DGA. As owners of the organization, their involvement is more emotional, which directly impacts the acting of the professional. In doing so, I especially saw opportunities to work closely together while maintaining sufficient distance.'

Your last employer was in a double crisis. How did you get through it?

'At the KNGU, the corona crisis caused a lot of membership loss and clubs to collapse. At the same time, we were dealing with the gymnastics crisis due to transgressive behavior. A critical report contained over 20 recommendations that we had to realize. That put a lot of pressure on the organization, which was under the full spotlight.
Not only did we have to keep the employees on board, but we also had to balance between day-to-day operations and the additional challenges in a very complex playing field. We succeeded with a large and well put together program with an oversight committee. By subsuming the recommendations as results of different projects, we came out of the crisis as a stronger organization.

What issues do you like to see appear on your task list at Boer & Croon?
'The issues that keep me growing myself. What I find most interesting are projects that deal with the imbalance in the triangle of management/control, entrepreneurship and caring for people. Finding the right balance is crucial to success. By the way, the content of the issues is not what makes the work challenging. People often figure that out. It is precisely those environmental dynamics that can make it complex, such as a difficult relationship with colleagues, a board or client that doesn't listen, late-delivering externals or suppliers, etc.'

"I like to be inspired by organizations that dare to be vulnerable.

Who or what inspire you and why?
'I get my inspiration mainly from people who dare to learn, dare to grant and openly appreciate. I appreciate the courage that that takes. I also like to be inspired by organizations where colleagues dare and are allowed to be vulnerable and where mistakes are allowed to be made. Therein lies a great good for employers. Learning organizations are the most sustainable.'

You already have many projects to your name. What result are you most proud of?

'Well, I don't deliver work I'm not happy with myself. As a result, I am proud of all the work done. Although I can see better than anyone else what could have been done better. But I am most proud of my three children. They have become great people. They are committed and involved, humorous, driven and smart. And they don't mind confronting me and Sven. So I get plenty of challenges at home too...'

'I don't deliver work I'm not happy with myself.'

Leerzame projecten

And from which project did you learn the most?
'I learned that sustainable transitions are not a matter of a plan of action, six months' lead time and wrapping up at 3 p.m. on Friday. That was instilled in me by the reflections of employees. At that organization, I started out too results-oriented and energetic. Totally ignoring what was going on under the water, what needed to be heard and what was going well. It taught me that it is crucial to listen carefully to the organization.

life beside work

By the way, do you have a life outside of work?
'Yes indeed. Besides the necessary home, garden and kitchen activities, I like to do sports. We live a stone's throw from the beautiful Veluwe singletracks, where we mountain bike regularly. I am also on the yoga mat and in the gym on a weekly basis. We walk a lot with our dog and I like to cook. I eat that with love, so mountain biking is an effective addition.'

What do not many people know about you?

'Ugh, that I don't like chocolate. Only the white ones, which is basically not chocolate. Seriously fatty and sweet. Also, I trained MMA for several years, but I got too old for that anyway. I still like to watch it though. Blood fanatic!